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CONNECT THE WORLD
White House Pushing out Mixed Messages on Syria; Turkish President Says Bolton Making Serious Mistake on Syria; Kim Jong-un in China Amid Talks of Second U.S. North Korea Summit; Trump to Appeal for Border Wall in Television Address; U.K. Parliament Prepares to Vote on Prime Minister's Deal; Saudi Girl Now Being Protected by U.N. Refugee Agency; Pompeo to Lay out U.S. Middle East Policy in Cairo Speech; Despite Trump's Promises, Coal Plants Still Closing; Trump's Border Wall, Fence, Barrier, Slats. Aired 10- 11a ET
Aired January 8, 2019 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:00] BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, live for you from Abu Dhabi.
Connecting tonight, promises made, promises broken. Right now this hour, no one really seems to have a clue as to what America's plans really are
for Syria or indeed the wider Middle East, especially not the people who frankly are actually meant to be deciding what is going on.
The American President's right-hand men are on the road right now. And they are kind of flat out contradicting their boss. America's top
diplomat, Mike Pompeo, kicking off his eighth stop tour around the Middle East to calm nerves. Just hours ago his message, well, Washington won't
cut and run. But remember that President Trump claimed troops would be out asap. And Pompeo isn't the only one adding to the fine print. American's
top security guru, John Bolton, putting on a big new condition on to getting out, too. But Turkey has to help look after U.S.-backed Kurdish
fighters. And that, well, that didn't go over well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT (through translator): Bolton has made a serious mistake. And whoever thinks like this has also made a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: And we've got the best in the business with regard to Middle East reporters for you. CNN's award-winning Arwa Damon is out in Istanbul.
Our veteran, Ben Wedeman in the mix from Beirut. Let's start with you Arwa. Fighting words from the Turkish President. What's going on?
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, Erdogan is absolutely incensed by Bolton's comments, which he really views as being
the complete opposite of whatever agreement he came to with President Trump. Saying that Turkey at the very least expects respect from its
allies, and for its allies to keep their promises. Here's more on what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERDOGAN (through translator): We cannot accept the comments made by Bolton in Israel. They can't differentiate between Kurdish citizens, YPG, PYD and
PKK. Kurdish PKK militants are not representative of Kurds. We can do what is necessary if they are terrorists. Comments made by Mr. Trump are
our criteria on Syria.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DAMON: And Turkey says that it is ready to take on ISIS elements inside Syria or even other groups that it views as being terrorist organizations,
such as the YPG. Saying that they're not going to wait for permission from anyone, Becky, at this stage. But you really see the effect these mixed
messages coming out of the U.S. administration is having here on the ground.
ANDERSON: Yes. As far as we understand it, John Bolton won't be meeting the Turkish President while he's in country. That's not, as we understand
it, because the meeting has been canceled by the Turks, but because the meeting was never actually scheduled. Be that as it may, the Turks clearly
furious that the U.S. is seemingly reneging on an agreement made between the two leaders. Is it any clearer today from your perspective, Arwa, what
the U.S. position really is with regard to Syria and indeed the wider Middle East?
DAMON: No, Becky, it's not. Look, for Turkey the issue of the YPG is a red line. They do not want YPG forces along their border. And they are
expecting that the U.S. somehow disarm the YPG fighters that it has been providing weapons to throughout all of this. That it ensures that the
dozen plus or so bases that America currently has in Syria are not going to be overrun by terrorists as Turkey describes them. That they will be
handed over to friendlier forces in a coherent manner.
Turkey is flat out saying that if they need to, it is going to go after and target these elements. Now, is America going to try to get the YPG to
disarm? Is that even going to be a possibility? Would they agree to that? I mean, there are so many questions right now that exist as opposed to
answers. That's not really the reassuring message that anyone wants to hear at this stage, whether it's people within government or those on the
ground whose lives are directly affected.
ANDERSON: And Ben, then Donald Trump's two top aides in region, John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
[10:05:00] He's in Jordan today in what we've described as an eight-stop tour. Ostensibly both in region in an effort to reassure allies that the
U.S. is in it to win it with them. But is it, as I put to Arwa, any clearer given what we heard to date from Bolton and Pompeo as to what this
strategy really is from Washington?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well certainly from what Arwa said, it's apparent that Bolton's trip to Turkey was a
catastrophe. It really underlined the dangers of a President who seems to unilaterally make decisions regarding the U.S. presence in Turkey and
Syria, and then find there is serious resistance from within his administration itself. Starting with James Mattis who resigned as the
Defense Secretary after he made that announcement and going forward. We have Bolton coming out and basically saying there is no timeline for the
withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria. So that trip certainly ended with far more confusion than it began.
As far as Secretary Pompeo goes, he was in Jordan today and it was very much on display the very different visions of the Middle East that the
United States and Jordan have. Pompeo saying that Iran and ISIS are the main threats to the region. The Ayman Safadi, the Jordanian Foreign
Minister making it clear Jordan's real concern is the unresolved Arab/Israeli conflict and their concern that the United States is seen
increasingly walking in lockstep with Israel and possibly even pondering the possibility of recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Syrian Golan
Heights, which Israel conquered in 1967 and has colonized since. So certainly, things are not getting in any way clearer as a result of this
current U.S. diplomatic offensive -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Ben's in Beirut for you tonight, Arwa in Istanbul. To both of you, thank you.
Coming up, I'll speak to a top Middle East scholar who thinks that while he may not go about it in the right way, some of Mr. Trump's instincts in the
Middle East region are actually right on target. That interview in about 20 minutes time.
On to a secretive train trip now that could help lay the groundwork for a second summit between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump. The North Korean
leader left Pyongyang Monday and is now in China for a three-day visit. He is meeting with President Xi Jinping, one of North Korea's only allies.
And Kim recently warning he may change his approach to nuclear talks if U.S. sanctions continue. CNN's Matt Rivers is following developments
tonight from Beijing. Matt, this all comes as speculation grows that a second summit between Kim and U.S. President Trump is in the works. Is it?
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I mean, I think if you're looking at precedent and what we saw last year in terms of the actions of Kim Jong-un
before the first summit, then you see what he's doing in China, I think you can infer from that that North Korea certainly believes that a second
summit is in the works. And what I mean by all that, is consider what happened in 2018. So you had three different visits that Kim Jong-un made
to China 2018. The first two happened shortly before the Singapore summit that was in June of that year between the North Korean and American
leaders. The third visit was just one week after that summit where Kim Jong-un came here to China to brief Xi Jinping on what happened.
So basically recent history tells us that when Kim Jong-un comes to China, it has something to do with the United States. And I think that's what
we're seeing here. The North Korean leader making his fourth trip in ten months here to China ahead of a potential second summit where we know that
they're going to strategize. They're going to talk about that summit. China is going to make sure that its strategic interests are being
represented by the North Koreans. That their views on what should happen in the Korean Peninsula are going to be represented by Kim Jong-un at that
summit. And Kim Jong-un taking the time to come here I think shows that the North Koreans are planning for a summit. And to that end, we also know
-- CNN is reporting -- that the United States continues to look for possible locations for a summit. We know that they've looked at sites in
Thailand, in Vietnam and even in Hawaii at this point. It's not a complete list, but basically what we're seeing is on both sides the kind of actions
that are being taken that would suggest that a second summit will happen sooner rather than later.
ANDERSON: Matt's in Beijing for you this evening, thank you for that.
Well the U.S. President taking the fight for his border wall to the American people. Tonight during primetime Donald Trump will give a
televised address on what the White House is calling the humanitarian and national security crisis over the border with Mexico.
[10:10:03] The White House also announced the President will visit the southern border on Thursday. Now this all comes as Mr. Trump still vows to
keep the government closed until he gets his wall, no matter how long that takes. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of federal workers brace to miss
their first full paycheck at the end of the week. Senior political analyst, Mark Preston, joining us now from New York. At the heart of this
impasse, Donald Trump's demand for more than 5.5 billion for what he calls his border wall or this fence. What can we expect him to say or do in what
is now this much vaunted speech later today?
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well you know, I wish we knew. Because he is so unpredictable, Becky, in what he does and what he has said
over the past couple of years of his administration. If not the last three years since he came into the public light as an official and as a
The concern though is that if he calls tonight for a national emergency, which would then allow him to tap into military funds to try to build this
wall, then you are going to have in some ways a crisis here in the United States. You're going to have legal challenges to that. You're going to
have Democrats and perhaps some Republicans beating back against it.
But we do know this, as we speak right now, our own Manu Raju is reporting that Jared Kushner is calling Republicans right now and at least one
Democrat and pressuring them, telling them that after the speech tonight and after the President goes to the border tomorrow -- or rather on
Thursday -- when he goes, then what's going to happen is that public pressure is going to build, so the White House is very concerned about this
and they are trying to ramp up the pressure hours before the speech even happens.
ANDERSON: Speaking with ABC this morning, Mark, Vice President Mike Pence was asked about the southern border, and the inaccurate information coming
from the White House. Let's have a listen to this then we'll discuss it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The American people aren't as concerned about the political debate as they are concerned about
what's really happening at the border. And that's what the President --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The President's credibility -- the White House said nearly 4,000 terrorists were coming into the country. That's not true.
PENCE: John, nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists were apprehended attempting to come into the United States through various means in the last
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Overwhelmingly at airports not at the border.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Mark, what is going on, on the southern border?
PRESTON: Certainly not what the administration is telling you right now. And let's just take a step back, Becky. You know, we talk about President
Trump calling for this national emergency or perhaps calling for a national emergency this evening if he does so. We've kind of already seen that.
What he's done before the November elections -- the November 2018 elections, is he sent nearly 6,000 U.S. troops to the border on the
predicate that it was about to be stormed by a caravan of migrants from Central America. That was an absolute lie, that was not true. And right
after the election, shortly after the election they started sending those troops home. In addition, we already have a couple thousand National Guard
U.S. troops basically on the border.
It has cost the U.S. right now $210 million for Donald Trump to play out this political play right now. We don't know what's going to happen
tonight, but we do know this is that Donald Trump has dug in on it. And he is not going to bend. He hasn't bent yet and he sees no reason to. The
biggest concern though, as you showed right in the lead-in, is that you have a lot of federal workers and a lot of federal contractors who are not
getting paid. And that's really going to hit the economy very hard shortly.
ANDERSON: Mark Preston is in the States for you. Thank you, Mark. You can watch President Trump's primetime address as well as the response by
the Democrats right here on CNN, that starts at 9:00 p.m. Tuesday in Washington. That's 2:00 in the morning London, 6:00 a.m. here in Abu
Dhabi. I'm sure you can work out the times where you are watching in the world.
Still to come, divisions inside and out, as the British Parliament prepares to vote on Brexit. Some MPs are worried about getting to work in the first
place because of, well, nasty scenes in Westminster. Stay with us.
[10:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want the people vote.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anna you're a fascist. Anna, fascist.
Anna Soubry, you're a fascist.
ANNA SOUBRY, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE PARTY MP: Isn't it a shame there are children?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: You just heard some of the slurs thrown at a British MP, Anna Soubry. A vocal supporter of Britain remaining in the European Union. She
was also called a Nazi, referred to as scum. And some of the language directed at the man filming the footage has been called racist. Those, by
the way, are just some of the comments we can actually report on television and unfortunately the ugly incident may not be an isolated one. 55 British
MPs across the political divide have written to the police expressing serious concerns about the quote, deterioration public order and security
situation outside Parliament.
Well Inside it, tensions are high in a different way with lawmakers due to vote on Theresa May's Brexit deal in just days. Getting Parliament on
board will be the Prime Minister's biggest challenge, one that could define her leadership altogether. But as Nina dos Santos reports, the road to
Brexit is long, fraught and this could just be the start of things to come.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In British politics today, all paths lead to Brexit. And with just over two months to go
before the U.K. leaves the EU, the roads to and from the country's biggest trading port are clogged in a dry run to prepare for a possible return of
Parliament is gridlocked, too, with MPs returning from their winter break, support for various solutions to the Brexit impasse is split multiple ways
as the PM once more prepares to put her unpopular deal to a vote next week, one which may include some concessions.
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I've been speaking to European leaders in the intervening period, speaking to colleagues, I'll be
continuing with that. Talking to colleagues, listening to colleagues, and speaking to European leaders.
DOS SANTOS: More than 200 MPs have written to Theresa May demanding she rule out a so-called hard or no-deal Brexit. While some vocal members of
her own party suggest that only a clean break with Brussels will deliver upon the result of the 2016 referendum.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't see how it's got the numbers to pass. Unfortunately the deal on the table that's being put forward by the
government just isn't in the national interest. And doesn't respect the vote to leave, which is one that I feel I can't support.
DOS SANTOS (on camera): And support for a second referendum is also growing, even though it's unclear as to whether the U.K. would have the
time to hold one before Britain leaves the EU in March.
(voice-over): The leader of the opposition accused the government of wasting precious time by delaying December's vote with little to show for
[10:20:00] JEREMY CORBYN, LABOUR PARTY LEADER: The government is trying to run down the clock in an attempt to blackmail this House and the country
into supporting a botched deal.
DOS SANTOS: For Downing Street the new year begins with a charm offensive, opening its doors to doubters for drinks on Monday before the Brexit
secretary unveils a new information campaign set to hit the press on Tuesday. Debate resumes in the House of Commons on Wednesday, and MPs will
cast their ballots on the 15th. If May's deal still doesn't pass, she may have to return to the EU for further changes, otherwise scenes like these
could soon become a way of life in Brexit-era Britain. Nina dos Santos, CNN, London.
ANDERSON: Let's look at this story. Bianca Nobilo is in Downing Street for you. While Phil Black is actually in Portsmouth, which is a city on
the south coast that voted to leave the EU. And let's start with you, Phil. Her deal, no deal, back to the Brexit drawing board. That is what's
going to be thrashed out in Westminster this week. What are people telling you where you are about how they feel at this point?
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We've been discussing all of this, Becky, with people here in this city that has a long, rich history of conflict,
with the European continent. Behind me is evidence of that, tied up in the harbor is HMS Victory, Lord Nelson's flagship from the battle of Trafalgar,
that celebrated victory over the combined Spanish and French forces.
Now all of that is history -- Pompey to proud locals -- but what has endured in Portsmouth is a sense of distrust, even a dislike of the
European Union. And when people here voted in the Brexit referendum, 58 percent said Britain should leave. So we've been talking to people about
what they think should happen in the event that Theresa May is unable to get her negotiated withdrawal agreement through the British Parliament.
Here's a little of what people have been telling us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We shouldn't sabotage Europe at all that would be a tragedy, yes, absolutely. The deal should go through. Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trying to have a deal. They're not having a deal. Are they? They're just saying no to everything.
BLACK: So, if a deal can't be reached, what happens then?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just have to go won't with.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Preferably with a deal.
BLACK: If that's not possible?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we've got to get out. They'll take us for a road like they always have done.
BLACK: Do you think we should leave without a deal?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, if it comes to it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
BLACK: Difference of opinion here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. We need to have a decent deal with the EU, otherwise our trades are going to go down. There'd be a massive impact if
there was no deal at all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Theresa May needs to pull her finger out and just cut the ties. We'll fall down low, pick ourselves back up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just get on with it. Just get on with it. Let's all carry on with our lives.
BLACK: Now it's not surprising that this is still true believer Brexit territory. But what is striking is that so people here tell us they're
willing for Britain to take an economic hit in order to achieve Brexit even in a no-deal scenario. But striking because in reality that would mean
faltering real businesses, real job losses for real people, real suffering for people across this country -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Phil Black is on the south coast. Bianca's in London, of course. The scenes earlier outside the palace of Westminster, and I wanted
to run those again, these were pretty ugly. This is a member of Parliament really being sort of knocked around. She's a "Remainer", of course.
Unfortunately let's bring those pictures up, if we can, please. Unfortunately the longer these arguments go on in government and in
Parliament about how the U.K. leaves the EU, the more polarized this country of Britain will be. How much responsibility does the EU now have
to actually take these negotiations perhaps more seriously to ensure that the decision that was made by the British people is a decision that works
for the British people and for the rest of the European Union -- Bianca?
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The difficulty that the EU has, is it's been clear from the very beginning. It was the U.K. that decided, for
example, to trigger Article 50 when it did, knowing that there would then be a two-year negotiation process with the EU. It was also the U.K. that
accepted the EU's scheduling of events, and critically that meant that they agreed on the terms of the divorce. Like the financial sun being paid over
before they knew what the relationship would be. And now the sticking point is that future relationship. This is still a contentious point.
Will it be a harder Brexit? Will it be a softer Brexit? People are still advocating for both. So the EU has maintained that it wants to keep things
as cordial as possible and will make as much of an effort as it can.
[10:25:00] We heard from the Irish leader this morning saying that they would be winning as far as he's concerned to look at extend Article 50, if
it would helpful to get these negotiations to a good point. You mentioned this abuse that MPs are receiving. And, Becky, as you know, I worked in
Parliament. That's where I started my career. And MPs always receive abuse and they're often lightning rods for public anger. But I've never,
ever seen it like this. The mood is so febrile. And the entire point of the referendum is to try and put some of these divisions finally to rest
after several decades of disagreement. And it has done precisely the opposite. And there is a fear as well that if there was to be a second
referendum, that it might inflame these tensions further.
However, on the other perspective, a Conservative, who is well regarded within the party, Lord Patton, came out yesterday and said that he for one,
is going to back a second referendum because of the temperature of the debate. He thinks things are getting to such a point of anger and the mood
is so febrile that perhaps a second referendum is the only way forward. Put it back to the people he says.
ANDERSON: Sure. Some say time for a war cabinet at this point, and that the government is not able to come up with a solution for this Brexit and
the rest of Parliament is being allowed effectively to sort of, you know, hand the reins over to one person, the Prime Minister, to try to sort this
out. So maybe the war cabinet is the way forward. To both of you, Bianca in London and still in Portsmouth, thank you.
Live from Abu Dhabi this is CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, how a social media platform alerted the world to one Saudi teenager's struggle for
Plus, is the U.S. making a messy Middle East even messier? It's a question we'll discuss with a top Middle East scholar after this.
[10:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is CONNECT THE WORLD with me Becky Anderson. It is 7:30 here in the UAE.
And for the moment it looks like that teenage girl who barricaded herself into a Thailand airport hotel is safe from being deported back to Saudi
Arabia. The U.N. refugee agency is now protecting 18-year-old, Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun. She posted on Twitter that she fears harm from her
family because she wants to leave her religion. Well her father and brother both arrived in Thailand on Tuesday to speak to U.N. officials. We
get more from CNN's Alexandra Field.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A Saudi teen who says she fears for her life if forced to return to her home
country is now under U.N. protection. Monday night Rahaf Mohammed al Qunun left the Bangkok airport hotel room where she had been holed up for two
days while threatened for deportation. On Twitter she had begged the world for help.
RAHAF MOHAMMED MUTLAQ AL-QUNUN, SAUDI TEEN SEEKING ASYLUM: I'm not leaving my room until I see UNHCR. I want asylum.
FIELD: She later says, I need any country to protect me as soon as possible. I require asylum. And then, I cannot leave the airport because
my passport has been taken away. They won't give me a visa.
Human rights groups in contact with Al-Qunun, demanded Thai officials put an immediate stop to the plan to send her home.
PHIL ROBERTSON, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: She stated repeatedly that she is deathly afraid of being sent back to Saudi Arabia. She believes that her
family will kill her.
FIELD: Now Thai authorities are reversing course, allowing the U.N.'s refugee agency to determine whether she needs refugee protection.
Previously officials said they were deporting her because she didn't have proper documents. Thailand's immigration chief also said Al-Qunun was
trying to escape an arranged marriage.
LT. COL. SURACHET HAKPAL, THAI IMMIGRATION POLICE COMMANDER (through translator): We will talk to her and do whatever she requests. Since she
escaped trouble to seek our help, we are the land of smiles, we will not send anyone to their death. We won't do that. We'll adhere to the human
rights principles under the rule of law.
FIELD: Al Qunun says she never planned to stay in Thailand. She said she was changing planes in Bangkok on her way to Australia when she was
stopped. Before Thai authorities blocked her from going further, Al-Qunun says she was intercepted by officials from the Saudi Embassy who took her
passport. On Twitter she said it had since been returned. Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry has denied the claims. Saying the teen was being deported
for violating Thailand's immigration policies and that its officials remained in touch with her family. The family could not be reached. They
have not made any public statements. Alexandra Field, CNN, Hong Kong.
ANDERSON: Well, all right. Back to our top story this hour. Two senior Trump administration officials in the Middle East this week trying to
reassure allies in the region after their boss, the U.S. President, announced he would withdraw American troops from Syria. Now the trips are
designed to dispel confusion over Mr. Trump's plans. But so far, they seem to be, well quite frankly, creating more confusion.
In Israel U.S. national security advisor, John Bolton, added new conditions to the troop withdrawal. Saying that the U.S. would only leave once ISIS
was defeated and with a guarantee from Turkey that it would not strike Kurdish forces. Forces that the U.S. had been working with to defeat ISIS.
Well those comments are not going down well in Ankara. That is actually an understatement. Incandescent is the way one of our reporter described the
reaction from the Turkish President.
Let's sort through all of this with Aaron David Miller, who is the vice president and distinguished scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International
Center, also former Middle East negotiator, serving both Republican and Democratic administrations. One of our global affairs analysts here at
So I say, incandescent. This is how the Turkish President responded to John Bolton's comments. Quote, we reached a deal with Trump. Then we
started hearing different voices from the administration. We keep taking Trump as our reference point, he said. We always kept our promises. We
expect this from our allies.
Predictable reaction here?
[10:35:00] AARON DAVID MILLER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Almost certainly. You know, I worked in a half dozen administrations, Jimmy
Carter to Bush 43, I've never seen among Rs and Ds in an administration with a foreign policy -- at least towards this region -- that appear to be
more confused and dysfunctional. You a risk adverse President who wants out. Heading for the exits in Syria. Two risk ready advisers, one highly
ideological, who are convinced basically that the United States needs to remain in Syria.
And has defined -- and I think what partly set off Mr. Erdogan was that the conditions that Mr. Bolton defined were not a part of the conversation with
Mr. Erdogan. He announced them publicly standing next to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. These conditions, frankly, would guarantee a perpetual
permanent American presence in Syria. The Kurds will never give us the sorts of assurance that we want with regard to the YPG.
And frankly, the notion of defeating ISIS in the way we've defeated Germany and Japan, breaking the organization's will to fight, that's not going to
happen. So if, in fact, we're saying that this is what we need, I think it's further confused the fact that you have a President who is the
commander in chief and key shaper in American foreign policy sending one unmistakably clear or alternatively muddy message, and two senior advisers
dispatched to the region to try to sort this out not very successfully.
ANDERSON: Got it. So here is what one of the President's most senior allies had to say about Donald Trump's strategy. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: The President slowing down and is re-evaluating his policies in light of those three objectives. Don't let
Iran get the oil fields, don't let the Turks slaughter the Kurds, and don't let ISIS come back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: The way Lindsey Graham lays it out, it all sounds simple, but of course, this is the Middle East and it's not. I wonder whether you agree
with some who say that this decision to withdraw from Syria or the kind of wider position on Syria -- let's put it that way -- by Donald Trump is
actually the right decision but just carried out -- announced and carried out, as it were, in the wrong way.
MILLER: I mean, frankly, that's my view. I think that we do not have the resources on the ground to accomplish any of the objectives that we've
identified. We are a junior partner to the Russians and the Iranians. And they are increasing and enhancing their influence right under our noses.
And the fact is, Becky, you now have ten years, eight years under a Democratic President, and two under a Republican President in which neither
Congress, the American public and two administrations have identified series of vital national interests of the United States. And yet we
continue to identify objectives, in my judgment, that are unrealistic and unattainable. You're right and Lindsay Graham is 100 percent right with
regard to the decision-making process. It was akin to diplomatic and political malpractice. And no one is arguing -- well with the exception of
the President -- initially for a 30-day withdrawal. It could take three months, it could take four months, it could take five. But unless we can
identify a clear purpose and strategy for being in Syria, we really ought to head for the exits.
ANDERSON: Right. Hold that thought. Because I want to come back to you and get your sense on what clear strategy then should be with regard to
national security for the U.S. in the Middle East. But less just bring up one thing. You've talked about two years of a Trump administration, eight
of an Obama administration. This year marks ten years since President Obama made what was a moving overture to the Arab/Muslim world in Cairo.
Now that speech meant to signal -- back in the day -- was a new beginning for America's relationship with the Middle East.
Now Mike Pompeo, 10 years on, is set to give a major speech this week, Aaron, also in Cairo about America's role in the region. Which many think
will be a complete rebuke to Obama's Middle East vision. What do you think we can expect from Mike Pompeo? And then let's discuss what you think we
ought to get from the U.S. administration, starting off with what you think we'll get from Mike Pompeo.
MILLER: I mean, if the drafts of the speech that "Politico" reported are going to be the speech itself, I mean, it worries me. The draft suggests
that the Secretary of State is going to praise the Saudis for their handling of the Jamal Khashoggi murder. And that another draft reportedly
talks about lecturing the Iranians that they ought to pay attention to how the Saudis handle human rights and rule of law.
[10:40:02] I think it really does reflect, it seems to me, a sort of confusion and dysfunction in policy. In my judgment we have three goals in
this region. One is preventing another attack on the continental of the United States. These are American goals admittedly.
Second, maintains the free flow and access to Arab hydrocarbons, even though the United States is increasingly less dependent upon them.
And number three, preventing the emergence of a regional hegemon, I suppose Iran, with a nuclear weapon. And I would argue despite all the confusion
and chaos the Trump administration has created, making a messy Middle East even messier. The fact is both under Obama and under two years of Trump
these goals more or less have been protected. The withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear agreement I thought was a mistake. This was a flawed but
still functional arms control agreement which in essence was working.
But without exception, despite all of the confusion in the Trump administration's foreign policy, I think by in large those goals are
protected. The way this has been carried out, the image of the credibility of the United States, a valueless foreign policy in which we allowed the
Turks, the Egyptians, the Saudis to basically undermine American values because we don't call any of them out with respect to their repressive
practices at home or human rights abuses, I think is a problem.
Two years in, I think with one exception, which is I think the President is right to begin to question the American role and the deployment of American
forces in conflicts that we are not going to be able to redress or resolve. Most of the rest of it, recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,
moving the embassy, not calling the Arab authoritarians out on human rights, I think, you know, leaves a lot to be desired. And I think it's
hurt our reputation and interests and our credibility.
ANDERSON: If we had either John Bolton or Secretary Pompeo on tonight, they would say, I'm sure -- I'm guessing they would say this was all very
simply Iran is in the cross hairs, and the policy from the Trump administration is renewing old ties with allies of the past and ensuring
that security is water tight for them and for the U.S. in the Middle East region. But we don't have them. We've had you and it's been fantastic.
Always a pleasure, sir. Your analysis is incredibly important to us. Thank you.
MILLER: Thank you, Becky, so much.
ANDERSON: While we're at it, let's get you up to speed on some other stories that we've got on our radar right now. This hour American markets
are racing back to life after pretty much being left for dead in December. You're looking at the Dow, it's up about a half of a percent. It's been up
and down. We're up by, like I say, a half percent and change. But for those who want this market to go higher, and of course, there are those who
are intent on selling in this market. But for those who want it to go higher, that will settle the nerves somewhat. 127 odd points up. Third
day in a row that this market is climbing. Investors seem pleased with the news from President Trump who insists that trade talks are going well with
U.N. special envoy Martin Griffiths is set to have talks with the Yemeni President, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, in Saudi Arabia. They are set to discuss
the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement and the cease-fire agreement set for the end of this month.
And at last one person is dead and two are missing after a tanker transporting kerosene caught fire just south of one of Hong Kong's main
islands. The crew members jumped into the water to escape the flames. So far, no significant oil buildup has been seen thankfully in the water.
And for the first time, Carlos Ghosn gave his version of the events that landed him in jail. Pleading innocent to charges of financial misconducted
in a Tokyo court. Now, the former Nissan boss said he did not underreport his income and denied any illegality regarding a temporary transfer of
personal investment losses to Nissan a decade ago. More on that, of course, as we get it.
Live from Abu Dhabi, it's a quarter to eight. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. Coming up, a look at an American industry that
Donald Trump promised to rebuild. When we returned, has he lived up to those promises? That after this.
[10:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON: If you're someone who worries about global warming, we've got some bad news for you. Carbon emissions surged in the United States at
least in 2018, rising almost 3.5 percent. Now, that reversed a recent trend that had the U.S. actually cutting fossil fuel emissions over the
past three years. Most of the increase came from industrial use, like steel refineries and chemical plants. One industry producing less carbon
emissions is coal. That is because the U.S. coal industry is slowly dying as cleaner and cheaper energy sources grow.
Donald Trump has consistently promising to bring coal back, but more plants have closed in his first two years in office than closed the final during
the final four years of the Obama administration. This is an important story. CNN's Bill Weir went to the heart of coal country in the United
States to see how people feel about the President's promises.
BILL WEIR, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Across America more and more coal-fired smokestacks are smoke-free. The power plants beneath them
are cold and dark. The mines that once fed them, abandoned. But for the past couple of years miners and their families let themselves believe that
a coal comeback was on the way. Thanks to promises like this.
TRUMP: We are putting our great coal miners back to work.
ART SULLIVAN, COAL MINING CONSULTANT: He's tried to get their votes. He's not telling them the truth.
WEIR (on camera): He's lying to them.
SULLIVAN: He's lying to them.
WEIR: You used to work in this mine.
SULLIVAN: I worked in this mine. I was a face boss.
WEIR (voice-over): For 52 years, Art Sullivan worked in and consulted on mines around the world. And he bristles every time he hears the President
claim to be the savior of coal.
SULLIVAN: And that really disturbs me. Because these are really good people. These are the people that I've spent my life working with. And if
they had the truth, they will make the right decisions.
WEIR (on camera): If the President was honest, he would explain to those folks that mines like this are never ever coming back to life again. Not
because of regulation, but competition. Coal just cannot compete with cheaper, cleaner natural gas, wind and solar. That's the reason more coal-
fired power plants have gone out of business in the first two years of Donald Trump and the first four years of Barack Obama, another 20 are
expected to go down this year. And if a miner is hired today, chances are he will be digging to fill the demand in India.
Do you feel the President gave these communities false hope?
BLAIR ZIMMERMAN, FORMER COALMINER: In my opinion, absolutely. I mean, I'm an expert. He's not. And I -- when he was campaigning, I asked -- I
talked to his people and I said what's your plan? How are you bringing back coal? Because it could be brought back if these plants would come
back up. And deregulating stuff will help this much. It's not going to help a lot.
WEIR (voice-over): Trump's EPA, now led by a former coal lobbyist in Andrew Wheeler, recently moved to lift Obama-era caps on how much poisonous
mercury and much heat-trapping carbon power plants can pump into the sky.
[10:50:06] Which really worries climate scientists like Penn State's Michael Mann.
MICHAEL MANN, PENN STATE CLIMATOLOGIST: We're already experiencing impacts of climate change that could have been avoided had we acted two decades ago
when we knew already at that point there was a problem.
WEIR: In order to save life as we know it, Mann says rich countries need to be on carbon-free electricity by 2030, which means 80 percent of current
coal reserves need to stay in the ground.
MANN: I think there's enough resilience in the system that we can withstand one term, one four-year term of Donald Trump. I'm not sure we
can withstand two.
WEIR: He's among the chorus calling for an energy revolution. And Art knows a few folks who might be able to pitch in.
SULLIVAN: If you spent several years working in the coal mines, you're going to come to understand electricity, hydraulics, mechanics, geology. I
see no limitation on the average coal miner's ability to transition into any other field.
WEIR: But first they need leaders willing to transition to the truth.
ANDERSON: All right. A story we've been covering now for some months, but an update on it. The U.S. attorney in Manhattan has charged Natalia
Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met in Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr. and others promising dirt on Hillary Clinton, with a separate case
highlighting her ties to the Russian government. Veselnitskaya has been charged with obstruction of justice. And of course, the more we get on
this story, we will bring it to you here on CNN.
Well it might have been Shakespeare who said a wall by any other name could not compete with a barrier made of concrete. Now it's a fence. It makes
more sense whatever the expense. Jeanne Moos reports on what's in a name.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With both sides walled into a corner, the wall itself has begun to morph. Donald Trump
used to say --
TRUMP: It's not a fence. It's a wall.
MOOS: But now --
TRUMP: Wall or fence or anything the Democrats need to call it. Because I'm not into names.
MOOS: And instead of concrete --
TRUMP: You could call it a steel fence.
MOOS: But why stop at fence.
TRUMP: We'll build a steel barrier.
MOOS: If only the President could bury some of his old quotes in concrete.
TRUMP: I said I was going to build a wall. I never said I'm going build a concrete -- I said I was going to build a wall.
[10:55:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are the walls going to be made out of?
TRUMP: I'll tell you what is going to be made of. It's going to be made of hardened concrete.
Concrete plank. Precast. Boom, bing, done.
MOOS: But now concrete seems boom, bing, done for. Ever since he started talking about steel slats last month, he's been getting slapped.
JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN: A commute computer generated representation of what this wall might look like with slats. And while it is --
MOOS: Steel slats have been turned in the prison bars. Next thing you know, we're wall to wall with smart-alecky suggestions.
Read one tweeted, has anyone considered a corn maze? A 2,000-mile long corn maze. The wall was diminished to speed bumps. The red velvet VIP
barrier is coming. Next week it will be a bunch of chihuahuas patrolling the border. Former Clinton labor secretary, Robert Reich, suggested Trump
would bargain down from a steel wall to corrugated tin to chicken wire to a chock mark and end by stationing troops at the border wearing wall
costumes, which actually exist.
JOHN OLIVER, COMEDIAN: One man even wore a spandex wall costume.
MOOS: House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, threw shade when she said, now he's down to I think a bearded curtain or something.
It's hard not to be on the fence about this border wall.
TRUMP: A wall or a slat fence, or whatever you want to call it.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson. Thanks for watching.